Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Balancing Act: The Life and Work Continuum


It's been a busy year already, and, as often happens during a deadline driven session, the days (and nights) go by too fast and I lose track of the week. Yet, on Sunday, Kyle Carpenter and I loaded his kiln with the pots I've managed to make in the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, the porcelain I made didn't get decorated and glazed. (Why i didn't get those pots done is probably a good essay in procrastination, waiting to happen)

Most everything else fit and was fired yesterday. Phew! Thank you KYLE!

So today, I'm cleaning up the mess left in the wake of making and glazing, literally and figuratively. Some of these include mopping the floor, cleaning brushes, reviewing my task list, and fulfilling email promises made, and writing about it (here, now).

Waiting for pots from ANY kiln is at first relief that the work is done (for now), then impatience and wanting to see. There's plenty to do to make up for the long days and late nights. My family eagerly wants me back in the fold after my own poor scheduling and over overwrought commitments to my work and ambition. But the life of the artist (and father/husband) isn't tidy. I used to say to folks about self employment, "I love being my own boss, I get to work any 16 hrs a day I want!" But in all honesty, there are many days when I miserably fail at getting the work done, much less 12 x 12, especially at the beginning of a session. But the days coming up on the scheduled firing I'm manic and full of panic and am to aware of time passing, hearing Stacey's grandmother's click chime away the night. 

So I sit here today, wondering, with hindsight, how I continue to find myself in these manic/panic unreasonable deadline sprees. It's clearly not just the wood kiln, because the deadline of firing KC's salt kiln produced the same old routine, even though there wasn't wood to cut and a huge pile of shelves to clean. I work best in a panic. But panic is an addiction, a rush, an influence under which I theorize/fantasize is the only condition that truly good creative work can be done. But putting myself and my family and friends under that kind of pressure is not sustainable and unhealthy. And I feel doesn't allow one's work to develop for the long haul. 

There's clearly something going on that I have to address to avoid future panic. There's much work  to be done, debugging of bad routines and  clearing the mental  impasses and clutter.  (Oh, clutter.)
Writing helps and I'm grateful for this blog to give me a kind of outlet. Thanks for letting me dump thoughts on you here. 

And making good pots helps, too.  So, "without further ado", I'm off to clean up the latest train wreck for hopefully the last time.